Susan G. Komen Announces $10M+ in Grants To Advance Breast Cancer Treatment & Precision Medicine

Dallas-based Komen said the 32 grants will further cutting-edge breast cancer research being done at 27 prestigious institutions worldwide and continue its longstanding support of breast cancer researchers early in their careers, as well as the world’s leaders in the field.

Dallas-based breast cancer organization Susan G. Komen announced $10.05 million in research grants that it said seek to improve patient lives through better treatments for metastatic disease and advancements in precision medicine.

Paula Schneider

Komen said the 32 grants will further cutting-edge breast cancer research being done at 27 prestigious institutions worldwide and continue its longstanding support of breast cancer researchers early in their careers, as well as the world’s leaders in the field.

“Susan G. Komen’s work is not complete until we can save all lives from breast cancer, and the research we’re funding today is helping people with breast cancer to live longer with better outcomes,” Paula Schneider, president and CEO of Komen—and a breast cancer survivor—said in a statement. “Komen’s grants will give promising scientists who are in pivotal stages of their careers the support they need to become the next generation of breast cancer leaders and advance research to save more lives.”

Building the breast cancer research workforce

Komen said it’s providing its first Career Transition Award grants this year to support and maintain talented breast cancer researchers by helping senior postdoctoral fellows and clinical fellows working under mentors to launch competitive, independent breast cancer research careers.

The organization said it’s also continuing the ASPIRE grant, introduced last year, to support research trainees from historically marginalized communities in research to help build a breast cancer research workforce that reflects the diverse communities Komen serves.

“This critical investment underscores Komen’s commitment to supporting cutting-edge research and innovative science that will lead to new treatment options for breast cancer, including metastatic breast cancer and other aggressive forms of the disease, and advance personalized breast cancer care, all with the goal of helping people live longer, better lives,” Ann Partridge, MD, MPH, chief scientific advisor for Komen, said in a statement.

Partridge is the Eric P. Winer, M.D., Chair in Breast Cancer Research, vice chair of the Department of Medical Oncology, director of the Adult Survivorship Program, and director of the Program for Young Women with Breast Cancer at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Per Komen, here are highlights of the $10.05 million investment:

  • 71% Dedicated to Metastatic and Aggressive Breast Cancer Research, addressing the most advanced form of breast cancer that is responsible for more than 40,000 breast cancer deaths every year. Metastatic breast cancer has no cure, and these grants focus on understanding the underlying biology and developing new ways to detect and treat metastatic and aggressive breast cancers to extend and maintain quality of life.
  • 65% Focused on Precision Medicine, also known as personalized medicine, which aims to tailor treatments specifically to individual patients and their unique tumors. Precision medicine aims to give patients treatments they’re most likely to benefit from, avoiding unnecessary treatment and improving outcomes.

With this year’s grants, Komen said it has invested nearly $1.1 billion in critical, cutting-edge breast cancer research, making it the largest nonprofit funder of breast cancer research outside of the U.S. government.

“Supporting outstanding researchers is not just an investment, it is a lifeline for the future,” Jennifer A. Pietenpol, Ph.D., chief scientific advisor at Komen, said in a statement. “Komen’s unwavering commitment to funding the best and brightest breast cancer researchers, especially in the crucial early stages of their careers, will ensure we have an exceptional team for generations to come.”

Pietenpol is the chief scientific and strategy officer and EVP for Research at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Ingram Professor of Cancer Research and Professor of Biochemistry at the Vanderbilt School of Medicine.

Grant recipients

Recipients of ASPIRE Grants: A Supplement to Promote Inclusion for Research Excellence

  • Eran Andrechek (Principal Investigator), Jesus Garcia-Lerena (Trainee), Michigan State University
  • Paula Bos (Principal Investigator), Ailen Garcia-Santillan (Trainee), Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Eida Castro (Principal Investigator), Lianel Rosario (Trainee), Ponce Medical School Foundation, Inc.
  • Isaac Chan (Principal Investigator), Isabella Terrazas (Trainee), The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
  • Suranganie Dharmawardhane (Principal Investigator), Ailed Cruz-Collazo (Trainee), University of Puerto Rico, Medical Sciences Campus
  • Stephanie Fraley (Principal Investigator), Maya Rowell, (Trainee), University of California, San Diego
  • Aimilia Gastounioti (Principal Investigator), Juanita Hernandez (Trainee), Washington University in St. Louis
  • Christy Hagan (Principal Investigator), Julio Tinoco (Trainee), University of Kansas Medical Center Research Institute, Inc.
  • Kevin Janes (Principal Investigator), Catalina Alvarez Yela (Trainee), University of Virginia
  • Anne Marie McCarthy (Principal Investigator), Mattia Mah’Moud (Trainee), University of Pennsylvania
  • Heather Neuman (Principal Investigator), Faith Dickerson (Trainee), University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Julie Palmer (Principal Investigator), Etienne Holder (Trainee), Boston University
  • Weston Porter (Principal Investigator), Hannah Carter (Trainee), Texas A&M AgriLife Research
  • Jeffrey Rosen (Principal Investigator), Alex Smith (Trainee), Baylor College of Medicine
  • Sohail Tavazoie (Principal Investigator), King Faisal Yambire (Trainee), The Rockefeller University
  • Hai Wang (Principal Investigator), Cheyenne Ernst (Trainee), Roswell Park Alliance Foundation
  • Alana Welm (Principal Investigator), Zannel Blanchard (Trainee), The University of Utah

Recipients of Career Transition Awards

  • Moriah Bellissimo, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Kristen Brantley, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
  • Douglas B. Fox, Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Siting Gan, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
  • Emanuela Marchese, Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Long Chi Nguyen, The University of Chicago
  • Purab Pal, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Nolan Priedigkeit, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
  • Yifan Wang, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
  • Jun Nishida, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Recipients of Big Data for Breast Cancer Grants

  • Xin Lu, University of Notre Dame
  • Harikrishna Nakshatri, Indiana University

Recipients of Leadership Grants

  • Lisa Coussens, Oregon Health & Science University
  • Christina Curtis, Stanford University
  • Melissa Troester, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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